The Clean Energy Patent Growth Index (CEPGI) recently released its 2013 Year in Review. Researched and published by the Heslin Rothenberg law firm, CEPGI is a quarterly report on clean energy patents granted in the United States.
CEPGI has been tracking green patent trends by technology sector, assignee, and geography since 2002.
Most years have seen new record highs in granted green patents, and 2013 was no exception, with 3175 clean energy patents granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The year-to-year increase of 114 from 2012, however, was relatively small compared to the annual jumps in the last several years.
The leading sector in 2013 was Solar, with 965 patents granted, followed by 886 Fuel Cell patents, with Wind patents in third place. This was the first year Solar surpassed Fuel Cell patents, which dropped from its high of 1024 patents awarded in 2012.
Hybrid/Electric Vehicle patents jumped 123 from 2012 to 409 patents granted in 2013 to take the fourth place position, and Biomass/Biofuel patents were in fifth place, up 47 patents from the prior year to 226.
The largest annual percentage growth was in Geothermal patents, with a 50% increase (from 14 to 21 patents), and Hybrid/Electric Vehicle patents saw a 43 percent increase. Tidal/Wave energy patents rose 34 percent, Biomass/Biofuel patents grew by 26 percent, and Solar patents were up 12 percent.
The top patent owners for 2013 were GM, with 169 patents, followed by Toyota (158 patents), Samsung (103 patents), and GE and Honda, both with 89 patents. Rounding out the top ten were Mitsubishi, Hyundai, Ford, Vestas, and Siemens.
CEPGI’s Year in Review breaks out the leading patent owners by sector as well. The leader in Fuel Cell patents was GM, with 128, Toyota took second place with 110, and Samsung was in third place (69 patents).
GE led in Wind, with 66 patents in 2013. Mitsubishi was a fairly close second, with 54 patents, followed closely by Vestas (47 patents) and Siemens (41 patents). In 2013, the Solar patent field in was led by Samsung (31 patents) and SunPower (28 patents).
An interesting statistic is the large annual increase in the number of U.S. green patentees:
Looking only at 2013 . . . , around 1500 entities contributed to the record total of Clean Energy patents in 2013, which is hundreds more patent grantees than 2012.
This indicates that the universe of green patentees (read: green tech innovators) is rapidly growing and diversifying.
According to CEPGI, this effect is most pronounced in the Solar sector (“[o]ver 600 different entities were granted Solar patents in 2013″). In both Fuel Cells and Wind, by comparison, there were about 300 different entities granted patents in 2013.
The full report can be read and downloaded here.